'Game over' for Norway’s seal hunt

Norway’s northern city of Tromsø used to be a major port for Norway’s controversial seal hunters, but they’ve now faded into the history books. For the first time in several hundred years, not a single Norwegian boat is heading out to hunt seals this season, and proponents of the hunt now blame climate change. “It’s over. Game over. The ice has shrunk,” Norway’s last seal hunter, Bjørne Kvernmo, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) on Friday. Kvernmo, skipper of the seal-hunting boat Havsel, was active in the hunt for more than 40 years. Now he says there have been “drastic changes” in the sea ice where seals congregated, and where hunters slaughtered them for their furs and meat. “Last year there was damn little ice,” Kvernmo told DN. “We found hardly any seals. It was a wasted trip, a huge downturn.” He lamented Read more

Feds put up $5.7 million to market seal products

The federal government is putting $5.7 million toward marketing the sealing industry, despite the hunt grinding to a halt. The money, announced in the 2015 federal budget, will be dedicated to opening up new products and markets for the sealing industry. The quota for the 2015 hunt is 400,000 seals, but in 2014 there were only 60,000 seals harvested. The last seal pelt processor, Carino Processing of South Dildo, N.L., was subsidized by the provincial government to buy pelts. Carino announced this year it will not buy seal pelts or fat this year, leaving a $1-million provincial loan on the table. That leaves the industry effectively dead. Anti-sealing groups no longer bother to fly to Newfoundland and Labrador to monitor the seal hunt. But the government is hoping the $5.7-million investment over five years can open up new markets, particularly in Europe. That may seem an Read more

Carino not buying seals this year

CEO calls decision 'short term pain for long term gain'; says market access key for future Carino Processing will not be buying seal pelts or fat this year, but company CEO Dion Dakins says the decision is geared to improve the industry's and the company's viability in the years ahead. Dakins said the company has inventory from previous hunts on hand. New player in this year's seal hunt promising to shake things up However, he said they will be purchasing a limited amount of seal meat from harvesters who are participating. As a result of the decision, Dakins said Carino has also decided not to access any of the $1 million loan announced last week by the provincial government. "At this point we just want to focus our efforts on the sale of our existing inventory," Dakins told CBC's Fisheries Broadcast. "It just falls into Read more

Canada Seal Hunt - Newfoundland And Labrador Opens Annual Hunt On Sunday

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The annual seal hunt off Newfoundland and Labrador will open Sunday. The federal Fisheries Department says sealers on the Front off northeastern Newfoundland and southern Labrador, as well as those based in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, can take to the water at 6 a.m. Fisheries says seal harvesters should check with their buyers to make sure there is a market for the seals before they head out. The department is also advising fishermen that they must do humane harvesting training before taking part in this year's hunt. The start of the season comes days after the Newfoundland and Labrador government contributed $2 million to two different processing plants to support the provincial sealing sector. An animal rights group condemned the financial aid, arguing the government is propping up a dying and inhumane industry. The Canadian Press Source: Read more

Swedish seal culls hit by new EU trading rules

The rules for selling seal products have been tightened. An exemption allowing the trade of products made from seals culled as part of wildlife management has been revoked by the EU, which could affect seal trade in Sweden. The EU commission made the decision after pressure from the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which in November 2013 called the exemption discriminatory. Sweden is one of six countries in the world that allows the hunting of seals, though only as part of wildlife management and with permission from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket). Around 300 seals were killed in 2014. The EU decision does not forbid the culling of seals. But rather than selling the fur or the meat, the products must now be destroyed. Swedish MEP Christofer Fjellner, member of the Moderate party, was among those who hit out at the new rules Read more

‘Nail in coffin for Norwegian seal hunting’: Govt cuts subsidies

Norway has cut a 12 million kroner ($1.8 million) subsidy for seal hunting from next year's budget. Environmentalists have applauded the move. Some businesses say it is putting an end to a historical and eco-friendly practice. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries say stripping the seal industry of subsidy has been dictated by "economic priorities." The government is aware of how vital the financial support has been for the business. "Seal hunting businesses are run by 80 percent subsidies," State Secretary Amund Ringdal of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries told the Norwegian news agency NTB. "When they are removed, the consequences will clearly be big. But we cannot say whether it's the final nail in the coffin for Norwegian seal hunting." The opposition has criticized the government for yielding to pressure from the EU. "In reality the government gave in to Read more

Ground-breaking WTO decision puts animal welfare before Free Trade, based on morals.

After spending hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars to fight a ban put in place by the EU, the Canada and Norway governments received its answer from the World Trade Organization that countries can, in fact, ban products they consider to be inhumane. More money is spent on promotion, peddling, and fighting trade bans than the commercial seal hunt, which is performed by off-season, full time fishermen, could ever bring in. Since Canada's government can't prove that Northern economy depends on the seal hunt as they claim, a representative of Inuit was sent to trade ban hearings. This was irrelevant since Inuit are not included in the ban, and clearly the WTO thought so, too. There are still some Inuit who perform substantive hunting, and the EU and Taiwan international markets remain open to them. View the WTO Read more

Kaley Cuoco Latest Celeb To Oppose The Seal Hunt

In what is becoming a familiar refrain, a celebrity took to Twitter to post her thoughts on the Canadian seal hunt, and the "disgusting" practices carried out every year. Kaley Cuoco (who recently added her husband's last name, Sweeting, to her Twitter profile), star of "The Big Bang Theory," began her missives on Twitter on April 15, with this tweet: "@FriendsForSeals: http://t.co/CmkJUJYXOa pic.twitter.com/CDDcgaCiGu #sealhunt video" this is SO disgusting and needs to stop NOW please!— Kaley Cuoco Sweeting (@KaleyCuoco) April 16, 2014 The California native has continued since then, noting her disgust when people have defended the Canadian seal hunt: I'm disgusted hearing the Canadian seal hunt is "humane". It's so "humane" I'm unable 2 post any pics it's so grotesque. My heart breaks— Kaley Cuoco Sweeting (@KaleyCuoco) April 16, 2014 The Humane Society has clarified its position on the seal hunt, making Read more

"Why do some people say seal pups aren't killed?"

When harp seal pups are born, they are known as "white coats". This is the fur popular for non-essential fur items only. When they are about 12 days old, they begin to molt the fuzzy baby fur they were born with. At the thought of defenseless seal pups being killed, public outcry was enormous. But Canada government, still wants that beuatiful white fur, which is gone forever when at approximately 3 months old it's replaced by light gray with dark spots. What to do? Thinking they would appease the world, they decided that "technically" when the fuzz begins to shed (and the pups still have white fur) now being "ragged jackets", they aren't pups anymore. Counting on the public to just believe what they're told, Canada's government continues to declare that seal "pups", "babies", and "white coats" aren't skinned. In reality, and Read more

Gail Shea says animal rights activists stopped seal meat sale to China

HALIFAX - Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea says a trade agreement to sell seal meat in China has been largely thwarted by animal rights activists. Shea announced the deal in January 2011 in Beijing, saying that gaining access to the world's most populous country would breathe new life into an industry crippled that year by a new European ban on seal products. But the Chinese government later said it had called for a review of the deal, which has remained stalled ever since. Shea is now blaming the animal rights movement for pressuring the Chinese government to back away from the deal over concerns the Canadian seal hunt is inhumane. She says those opposed to the sealing industry have succeeded in spreading misinformation about the slaughter of seal pups, a practice that was banned in the 1980s. The annual East Coast hunt started Monday Read more

Bjørne Kvernmo

‘Game over’ for Norway’s seal hunt


Norway’s northern city of Tromsø used to be a major port for Norway’s controversial seal hunters, but they’ve now faded into the history books. For the first time in several hundred years, not a single Norwegian boat is heading out to hunt seals this season, and proponents of the hunt now blame climate change.

“It’s over. Game over. The ice has shrunk,” Norway’s last seal hunter, Bjørne Kvernmo, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) on Friday.

Kvernmo, skipper of the seal-hunting boat Havsel, was active in the hunt for more than 40 years. Now he says there have been “drastic changes” in the sea ice where seals congregated, and where hunters slaughtered them for their furs and meat. “Last year there was damn little ice,” Kvernmo told DN. “We found hardly any seals. It was a wasted trip, a huge downturn.”

He lamented that it was actually raining when his boat arrived in Vestisen near Greenland in 2015. “There was something wrong, it was pouring,” he said. “It’s not supposed to rain on the ice around Greenland.”

Kvernmo said that the ice that was there was so thin that it broke up in stormy seas, and he claims that 50,000 young seals on the ice fell into the sea and drowned. He and his crew had hunted the Greenland seals and got the highest prices for the young seals with silver-grey fur.

“We didn’t find any young seals last year,” he told DN. “They had disappeared, maybe 50-, 60-, 70,000 seals. The polar bears are also looking for them, we saw a helluva lot of polar bear tracks on the edge of the ice.”

Now his boat is moored in Tromsø’s inner harbour, which since 1850 was known as the Arctic port from which polar explorers like Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen set off, along with polar bear- and seal hunters. “It was a lifestyle, an adventure in the northern wind,” he told DN.

The Norwegian government’s decision a few years ago to cut subsidies and years of environmental opposition to the hunt have of course contributed to the demise of seal hunting, Kvernmo noted, but he cited first and foremost the reduction in ice and “difficult conditions.”

He first sailed on the Havsel in 1984, bought the boat in 2004 and in recent years was the only skipper on the only boat still hunting after financial support ended in 2015. “For me, it’s clear that it’s now over,” he said. EU regulations against trade in seal products also cut heavily into the hunt. Now his boat will start working for another industry making its disputed way into the Arctic: oil and gas. DN reported that Havsel will become part of oil pollution prevention efforts in February, sailing off the coast of Finnmark and up towards Bjørnøya.

Kvernmo and his boat, meanwhile, are now starring in a documentary film about seal hunting called Ishavsblod (Sealers: One last hunt), which was featured at the Tromsø International Film Festival this week. Filmmakers Trude Ottesen and Gry Mortensen felt it would be “tragic” if the seal hunt’s “unique culture” hadn’t been documented. “We wanted to make a portrait of the seal hunters, before they disappear,” Mortensen told DN.

Others are likely glad the hunt is over, after years of protests against its alleged brutality. Mortensen and Ottesen, however, claimed that even “vegetarians” at a film festival in Amsterdam where the film was shown before Christmas “had tears in their eyes” over the prospect that the seal hunters were losing their lifestyle, and their culture.

NewsinEnglish.no
Source: http://www.newsinenglish.no/2017/01/20/game-over-for-norways-seal-hunt/

Posted on by FriendsForSealsOrg